secretleaders | The other way to build a massive tech company – doing it slowly, with Airtable Co-Founder and CEO Howie Liu

The other way to build a massive tech company – doing it slowly, with Airtable Co-Founder and CEO Howie Liu

The other way to build a massive tech company – doing it slowly, with Airtable Co-Founder and CEO Howie Liu

Most investors didn’t understand the concept. Most non-technical entrepreneurs at the time didn’t get it either. But Howie Liu, Co-Founder and CEO of multi-billion dollar tech juggernaut Airtable, had the conviction to bet the next 10 years of his life on it.
“I didn’t come up with Airtable as an idea, on a lark, it was informed by a lot of the research I did, a lot of the observations I had of the enterprise software landscape, of looking back at other companies that did similar things. I then came to this gut decision that this was a big opportunity.”
Airtable is a low-code relational database, a highly versatile platform that’s grown massively since its founding almost 10 years ago. In the interim, Howie has learnt how to articulate a unique product to a huge customer base, and grow it from the ground up to become a category defining piece of software.
But how did a home-brew startup become a Silicon Valley darling?
Howie shares his story from lifeguarding, ghosting Accenture on the first day of his new job, joining the Y Combinator, founding Etacts and his subsequent decision to sell it to Salesforce less than a year later:
“We felt woefully ill prepared to go and try to build a larger and more ambitious company from the starting point that we had set out with. And a few acquisition offers did come around, including Salesforce, we felt like they would be great learning opportunities.”
Find out what Howie did next on his way to a near $6b valuation.

secretleaders

The Secret Leaders podcast features interviews with key figures from the UK tech and creative ecosystem. From entrepreneurs (both early and latter stage), to journalists, VCs - and even royalty - the series profiles those who have helped shape the nation's culture of innovation and growth.

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